->"''You're a funny guy, Sully, I like you. That's why I'm going to kill you last.''"
--> -- '''John Matrix''', ''Film/{{Commando}}''[[labelnote:* ]][[ILied He lied.]][[/labelnote]]

Part of a villainous stock phrase that usually goes "When I TakeOverTheWorld, you will be spared." The other variations are "I think I'll kill you last" and "Your death will be quick and painless."

Usually, the villain will make this promise to anyone who helps him, or to someone they feel indebted to, are friends with, or are in love with. If the villain ''really'' likes this person, expect them to sweeten the deal with a ShinyNewAustralia. This is generally played for laughs, since few "realistic" villains are quite so egomaniacal that they bandy out the lives of others this way.

If said to a hero, it may because they're {{Friendly Enem|y}}ies. An OmnicidalManiac may either express a desire to preserve one person or event that they like, or say that it's the one thing they'll miss after destroying the world. If they believe the person or people they spare have some sort of UniquenessValue, that's SparingTheAces. If they deliberately spare someone to have the person suffer from guilt, that's CruelMercy.

An alternative reason for a villain to invoke this trope is to leave behind a witness to tell of their misdeed, intending for it to have a demoralizing effect on the villain's enemies.

Contrast IllKillYou!



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* For ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'s'' Ladd Russo and Lua Klein, nothing says [[MadLove love]] like "I'll kill you last." Ladd also says something along those lines to Graham Spectre ("No, I won't...I like brazen and impudent guys that only I'm able kill"), at which point Graham [[HoYay starts fanboying him like nobody's business]].
* The BigBad of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' didn't ''say'' anything until he'd [[BatmanGambit already made his move]], but once they're the only two left alive he gives something along the lines of this trope to Van Hohenheim, "in gratitude for giving me life." Poor man had had [[GenreBlindness no inkling]] Homunculus was evil until then, and they had even established in conversation that he was basically his father. This might help explain his somewhat ambivalent attitude toward his [[HotBlooded second]] and [[GentleGiant third]] sons. After one goes all OmnicidalManiac on you and [[WhatHaveIBecome turns you into]] an [[IAmAMonster immortal]] [[CatchPhrase monster]]...
* In ''Anime/AuraBattlerDunbine'', when the bad guys arrive on Earth announce their plan to conquer it, they say they will spare the city of Boston out of respect for one of their pilots who came from there.
* In ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'', the freshly resurrected and awakened Hysteria says that she'll spare any Claymore who removes the sword from her neck. One steps up and does so, and she keeps her word, avoiding that Claymore while slaughtering the rest. Also a prime example of EvenEvilHasStandards.
* In ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', Nazi officer Stroheim goes to a group of Mexican prisoners and makes them choose which one of them will [[{{Ghostapo}} be sacrificed to the "man in the column"]]. One boy stands up to offer himself to save the rest, and Stroheim is [[YouAreACreditToYourRace so impressed by his bravery]] that he chooses to spare him and kill the rest.
* In ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'', Stain the HeroKiller will spare a hero if said hero has proven themselves to be heroic, even if he has them at his mercy. So far, only Izuku has proven to match his standards of what being a hero is aside from All Might himself. This even extends to [[spoiler: saving Izuku when a Noumu has grabbed Izuku and attempts to fly off with him.]]
* In ''Anime/DragonBallZTheHistoryOfTrunks'', when a terrified store clerk gives Android 18 beautiful clothes, she is genuinely grateful and says he won't die today. However, as she is walking away, Android 17 blows the store up and kills him. 18 becomes upset because 17 made a liar out of her.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'': Peter and Kitty Pryde hit the mall on their first date and joke about the modern miracle that is the corn-dog on a stick. Kitty quips that when the mutants take over the world, the inventor of the corn-dog will be spared. She has to explain she was kidding when Peter looks nervous. [[{{Foreshadowing}} Little did they know....]]
* In one ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'' story, Jei, the Blade of the Gods, comes across a group of bandits robbing a peasants' hut. He slaughters them, and then turns his eyes towards the lone survivor the bandits' raid- a girl called Keiko. Instead of killing her, he decides she's "innocent" and leaves. Keiko then decides to travel with her new "Uncle".

[[folder: Comic Strips]]
* In [[http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1987/10/18 this]] ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes strip, a bug-eyed monster in one of Calvin's [[MrImagination "Spaceman Spiff" adventures]] tells Spaceman Spiff:
-->You have knowledge we need. Cooperate, and we'll kill you rather painlessly.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the ''Manga/DeathNote'' fic ''FanFic/ACureForLove'' Light says the following to L [[OpenMouthInsertFoot without really thinking about what he said]] [[MurderIsTheBestSolution because killing people who annoy him has almost become an automatic response]]:
-->'''Light''': [[FriendlyEnemy You're not trying to do something stupid are you?]]
-->'''L''': I'm not doing anything stupid, Light. Apart from speaking to you.
-->'''Light''': Good, because I would hate to kill you.
-->'''L''': [[DeadpanSnarker Mmm... I'm sure you would.]]
* In another ''Manga/DeathNote'' fic ''[[FanFic/MonsterADeathNoteAU Monster]]'' Light spares L insisting that [[WeCanRuleTogether they can rule together]] and later [[spoiler: [[BackFromTheDead brings him back to life with the death eraser after Misa killed L in a jealous rage]]]]. Also Mello spares Aizawa in a PetTheDog moment:
-->'''Light:''' You may report back now...is there anyone else in the car?
-->'''Mello:''' Yeah.
-->'''Light:''' Oh. Kill him. (Hangs up)
-->'''Mello:''' [[HitmanWithAHeart I think I've fired enough shots today.]]
* In the ''Manga/DeathNote'' fic ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/616971/chapters/1112940 To Feel Alive]]'' Ryuk says this to Light, promising that his death would be quick and painless--much to Light's annoyance.
-->''Shouldn't he be grateful that he wasn't planning on giving him a painful, lingering death?''
* This occurs in ''{{FanFic/Heir}}'' (a Dark![[Franchise/HarryPotter Harry]] fic where [[spoiler: Harry was raised by the horcrux in his head]]) when Harry and [[spoiler: Tom]] are choosing victims to be [[NonLethalWarfare petrified by the basilisk]] they are so impressed with the muggleborn Hermione Granger that they decide to spare her and move on to a new target.
* In [[WhamEpisode Chapter 23]] of ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'', a girl named Belladonna Tyrian raids the Gringy City Power Plant, and when she encounters two guards, she kills one, but the other pleads for his life [[IHaveAFamily because of his family.]] She knocks him out and leaves him stuffed in a closet with a message so he can be found.
** Sabrina has gained herself a reputation for killing challengers she deems as "unworthy", [[SparingTheAces but she spares those who manage to impress her]]. [[PragmaticVillainy This is partly because it helps attracting weak ones as they know there is a chance for survival.]]

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* Though he never actually tells her, Cat R. Waul of ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail: Fievel Goes West'' planned on sparing Tanya Mousekewitz after he and his gang killed and ate every mouse in town, because he liked her singing voice.

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/ThePatriot'': After Colonel Tavington finds proof that Anne's village is helping Benjamin and his militia, he has the whole town rounded and says they'll be "forgiven their treason" if they tell him where Benjamin is. One guy eventually caves, [[spoiler: [[KickTheDog and Tavington burns the whole village alive anyway]]]].
-->'''Villager:''' You said we'd be forgiven!\\
'''Tavington:''' And indeed you may! [[spoiler: But that's between you and God]].
* In the B-Movie ''Film/EvilAlienConquerors'', said conquerors tell a normal human, when he helps them, that he will die painlessly. It's something of a RunningGag, to the point that he eventually waves them off with a parting "Die painlessly" to theirs.
* In ''Film/{{Coneheads}}'', this is what Mr. Conehead says to the woman who sabotages her driving exam in an attempt to start an affair with him. He won't sleep with her, but promises she'll be on the protected list once his people invade.
* ''Film/TransformersFilmSeries''
** In [[Film/{{Transformers}} the first film]], Megatron makes the offer to Sam: "Give me the Allspark, and you may live to be my pet."
** Becomes a major plot point in the [[Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon third film]]. [[spoiler: Carly's boss Dylan, and some of his associates, are the descendants of humans who worked for NASA when the ''Ark'' was discovered on the moon. To ensure that no other human learned of this, Soundwave and Laserbeak forced NASA's employees to keep quiet about the discovery, lest they be killed off. Dylan turns out to be one of the few humans chosen to be spared after the Decepticons enslave humanity, possibly to work as a liaison between the 'Cons and the human slaves. It's also revealed that the various deaths in history related to NASA were Soundwave and Laserbeak getting rid of "loose ends."]]
* Subverted in ''Film/{{Commando}}'': Col. John Matrix (Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger) tells Sully, a wise-cracking bad guy, that he'll kill him last. What's lost in MemeticMutation, however, is that Matrix was clearly being [[SarcasmMode sarcastic]] when he speaks the line.[[note]]Sully had just finished taunting Matrix and joking that his daughter would be gang-raped.[[/note]] Later, Sully gets the picture during a HighAltitudeInterrogation:
-->'''Matrix''': Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?\\
'''Sully''': Yes. That's right, Matrix, you did!\\
'''Matrix''': ILied. ''(Drops Sully to his death.)''
* AntiHero-ic version in ''Film/BladeII''. Blade gets information out of a Vampire Mook, saying, "Tell me what I want to know, and I'll consider you as a loose end." The Mook spills the beans, and Blade actually lets him get away, even when he runs into him again later on. Of course, [[BrickJoke at the very end]], Blade catches up to the guy in a sleazy porn theater about three countries away: "Well, you didn't think I forgot about you did you? <Brain-stab>"
* In ''Film/DoctorZhivago'', Yuri runs into the War Train of the brutal Bolshevik general Strelnikov, whom no one knows anything about. After questioning, he discovers that Strelnikov is actually his long-lost lover's {{Bishonen}} [[spoiler:ex-boyfriend, who [[NeverFoundTheBody was presumed dead]]]] and suffered a HeroicBSOD and now carries an [[GoodScarsEvilScars evil scar]]. He informs Dr. Zhivago that Lara is still alive and has been spared the purge due to their past relationship. After leaving, the guards tell Yuri he must be blessed: [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen no one is questioned by Strelnikov and lived to tell the tale]].
* In ''Film/LordOfIllusions'', Nix confesses to Swann that his intent (unsurprisingly) is to "murder the world", but rather charitably offers to kill Swann last if he helps Nix with said murder.
-->'''Nix:''' Now you know I will kill you when we're done. I have to.
* In ''Film/BillyMadison'', after Billy apologizes to a guy he used to bully as a kid, said person marks him off his "People to Kill" list [[spoiler:and [[BigDamnHeroes saves his life in the ending]]]].
* In ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'', Rasputin says "It will be quick" to Professor Bruttenholm right before he kills him. It appears to be true.
* During a flashback in ''Film/SecondhandLions'', Hub has The Sheik, who has tried to kill him on several occasions, defenseless, and at his mercy. He decides to spare him, and leaves him with this.
-->'''Hub:''' "I have held your life in my hands twice, and twice I have given it back to you. The third time, ''your life is mine''."
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' has the "I'll kill you last" version.
--> '''Wicked Witch''': The last to go. She'll see the first three go before her.
* Imhotep makes this promise to [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Beni]] in ''Film/TheMummy1999''.
* This happens between Zorg and Cornelius in ''Film/TheFifthElement''.
-->'''Jean Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg''': You saved my life, and in return I'll spare yours...for now.
* ''Franchise/TheChroniclesOfRiddick'':
** In the 2004 ''Film/TheChroniclesOfRiddick'', the Lord Marshall promises Aereon that he might save her homeworld for last during the Necromonger purge across the cosmos if she gives him another prophecy on his odds to reach the Underverse. She promises him that he'll reach it pretty soon.
** At the end of the director's cut of the third ''Film/{{Riddick}}'' movie, Riddick confronts Krone as he's praying in the Lord Marshal's private chambers, having taken up Riddick's former post after betraying Riddick and leaving him for dead. Riddick promises to kill Vaako first and Krone second if he tells him where he can find Vaako. Krone launches into a long-winded rant instead of answering him, prompting Riddick to kill him ahead of schedule.
* In ''Film/RiseOfThePlanetOfTheApes'', Caesar spares [[PunchClockVillain Rodney]] when [[spoiler:the apes break out]], putting him in a cell for his own protection.

* UrExample: In ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', when Odysseus gives his name to the Cyclops as "Nobody", the Cyclops says that he will eat "Nobody" last out of thanks for giving him the wine. (It may or may not have been the giant's sick idea of a joke.) This also doubles as a [[KickTheDog kick the dog moment]] to make him evil enough that the audience can enjoy him getting brutally blinded later. Capturing, enslaving and killing intruders wouldn't make him particularly bad in the eyes of Homer's audience (eating them is a bit over the top, though). Deliberately insulting the holy laws of hospitality by expressly making this Odysseus' "guest gift" is sacrilege though, and that's a completely different matter.
* Bagheera does this in the Book of the Jungle by Kipling. During the water peace (when he is not allowed to hunt) he absent-mindedly says he wishes he could eat grass. A young animal from one of his prey species quips: "So do we". Everybody laughs and Bagheera makes an effort to memorize this animal's appearance so he can remember not to eat the animal that made him laugh next time they meet.
* A rare heroic version in Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/HaveSpaceSuitWillTravel'': just before HumanityOnTrial, Kip is assured that he and Pee-wee will be allowed to live out their lives. Kip asks that they be returned to Earth if humanity loses, which may have been a factor in deciding to spare humanity for now -- although they intend to re-evaluate later.
* In ''Discworld/{{Wintersmith}}'', the titular AnthropomorphicPersonification offered to spare Tiffany and the Chalk (where she came from); the rest of the Disc would remain frozen forever.
* Inverted by Virigar [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent the Werewolf King]] in Creator/RykESpoor's ''[[Literature/JasonWood Digital Knight]]'', when he tells Jason Wood, "I'm minded to let you live for a while.... So you will suffer all the more while everything you value is destroyed before your very eyes!"
* In ''Literature/AbrahamLincolnVampireHunter'' the main vampire--though not exactly a villain--would say, every time he and Abraham Lincoln met, and he didn't kill him--or the vampire would save him--he'd ask why and the vampire would say "Some people are just too interesting to kill." Then in the end, when Abraham Lincoln died [[spoiler: and the vampire brought him back as a vampire himself, he said, "Some people are just too interesting to let die."]]
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** In ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire Goblet of Fire]]'', Voldemort tells Harry that if he surrenders, his death will be quick, and possibly painless.
--> I do not know... I have never died.
** [[spoiler: After bumping Lily and her family to top of Voldemort's hit list, Severus Snape begged him to spare her (though ''not'' James, whom he hated, or Harry, who was Voldemort's primary target and had no chance of being spared), in part due to his unrequited love for her. It almost worked; Voldemort did offer Lily the chance to step aside, but since she insisted on protecting Harry, he ended up killing her anyway. When Dumbledore found out about this he ''royally ripped Snape a new one'' for apparently thinking he could pull some manner of ComfortingTheWidow on Lily after being complicit in the deaths of her husband and child. On the other hand, the fact that she had a choice is what made the protective magic work that shielded Harry from Voldemort after her death, so in an indirect, unintentional way Snape saved Harry's life]].
* Another OlderThanFeudalism heroic one is in ''Literature/TheBible''--Rahab is told that she and her family will be spared after hiding the Hebrew spies from the soldiers of Jericho.
** According to Jewish tradition, the only two Egyptian firstborn who didn't die in the final plague were Pharaoh (because God already had other plans for him) and Batya, the princess who raised Moses and thus earned God's favor.
** When the Israelites were about to conquer the Promised Land, ten of their spies said that it would be impossible, despite having {{God}} on their side; the people crossed the DespairEventHorizon and [[RageAgainstTheHeavens Raged Against the Heavens]]. God was so angry that He declared that forty years would pass before they could enter the land, and in that time, every man over the age of 20 would die. The only exceptions were Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who had gone against the majority and kept their faith in God's power.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'' has this exchange from Phoebe: ''When the revolution comes, I will have to destroy you all... except you, Joey.''
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' has [[FoeYay Sylar informing Mohinder]] "I wasn't begging for my life... I was offering you yours."
* Because they had an unwitting hand in his genesis, a BigBad tells the Series/{{Lexx}} crew that they will be [[OmnicidalManiac the last in the universe to die]].
--> '''Mantrid:''' That will be my thank you.
* On ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', the demons assisting Lucifer will be killed as soon as Lucifer is finished with the humans and angels if not sooner. Any demon caught assisting Team Free Will will be granted [[WhoWantsToLiveForever immortality]] [[AndIMustScream instead]].
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' inverts the "I'll kill you last" variety. Said by Ethan to Charlie, this is a ''threat'': Charlie will see all his friends die before he's killed.
** "What They Died For" plays it straight with the Man in Black offering to spare Penny if Widmore tells him what he needs to know.
* ''Series/YoungDracula'': Ingrid tells her therapist this after the therapist helps her get past her VillainousBSOD. The therapist believes that her ability to make such jokes is a good sign.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', season 6: While drowning sorrows and bemoaning their (lack of) love lives together, Spike tells Anya that she's the only one he wouldn't bite if he didn't have his RestrainingBolt. He respects women who say exactly what's on their minds (even if they happen to be off their rocker like Drusilla).
* The first scene of the ''Series/{{Blade}}'' pilot subverts the trope after Blade chases down a vampire in Russia and acquires some information from him at swordpoint.
-->'''Blade:''' You can go.\\
'''Vampire:''' You are kidding, yes?\\
'''Blade:''' Yes. (''[[OffWithHisHead whack]]'')
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E16TheWatersOfMars "The Waters of Mars"]], The Doctor meets a woman in 2059 whom he knows is critically important to history. She reveals that the reason she's in space is because she was spared by a Dalek [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E12TheStolenEarth during their invasion of Earth fifty years earlier]]. She never knew why, but The Doctor knows that it's because of her importance to the future; she's a "fixed point in time", and even the Daleks know better than to mess with those.
** This was actually forced on the Doctor during the Time War. When the War Doctor was contemplating using the Moment to destroy both the Time Lords and Daleks, it told him that his punishment would be that he would be the only one to survive it, forcing him to live with the guilt for eternity.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'':
** In a flashback in "Hermanos," it's revealed that while Gus Fring's old partner Max was killed, Gus was spared from being killed by Don Eladio because Eladio knows who Gus really is.
** Having just killed Hank and Gomez, the Neo-Nazi crew of Uncle Jack Welker spares Walter and Jesse for very different reasons: Jesse, who they keep alive and enslave to cook meth for them; and Walt, who they leave with $11 million to disappear and keep the heat on him. It comes back to bite them since Walt does return to avenge Hank's death.
* In ''Series/PersonOfInterest'', Root tells her psychiatrist she's deciding whether or not to kill him. She ultimately decides [[spoiler:to spare him, thus playing the trope straight]].
* In the ''Series/{{Haven}}'' episode "Speak No Evil", Mara tricks Vickie into helping her open a portal to another dimension. Mara says as thanks, she will spare her life once she gets what she needs, comes back, and basically conquers the world. When the portal closes before she can pass through, Mara angrily shoots Vickie with a taser, but doesn't kill her.
* In ''Series/{{Gotham}}'', Fish Mooney does this to a few helpless victims she has strung up.
--> "You... and you, will die slow." *Points at Gordon* "You... It'll be quick." *Points at Bullock* "And you... We're cool."
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "Arena", the Gorn captain promises Kirk a quick death if he surrenders.

* How Alquist ended up as [[LastOfHisKind the last human in R.U.R.]] After the robots took over the factory he was dragged before the one in charge, the usually human hating Radius, who took one look at him and told the other robots to leave him be because 'he works with his hands like a robot'.

* ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' has OmnicidalManiac Gig, who mentions if he gets control over the hero's body he will destroy everything, ''"except maybe those hotpods. Those are good. I'll keep those."''
* Saren ''attempts'' to {{invoke|dTrope}} this in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' by making organics useful to the BigBad. Even though the whole point of what they were trying to do was to kill them all. [[spoiler: Saren was brainwashed into thinking he could actually have a few organics be spared so the next evolution of species/their own would be able to recover much faster.]] Then again, who would think that as the races of the galaxy would have a heads up?
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' we learned that [[spoiler:a certain amount of people would be spared. [[FateWorseThanDeath Though they]] [[SlaveMooks probably will]] [[AndIMustScream wish they hadn't.]]]]
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' we learned that [[spoiler:only the most advanced races are wiped out in each Cycle. During the Prothean's Cycle for example, the ancestors of the present day races were spared. The Reaper Cycle is actually a rather warped attempt to ''preserve'' organic life in the galaxy by periodically hitting a ResetButton on civilization to prevent an all out RobotWar that would completely wipe out life. This leads to the Reapers' downfall, since the people of each Cycle worked on the Crucible, the weapon that ultimately defeats them.]]
* This is one of the taunts in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2''. The exact wording depends on the faction, ranging from "I promise amnesty for you and your troops" for the Americans, to "Surrender now and I'll kill you quickly" for the Cubans.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/StarControlII''; if you [[NonstandardGameover surrender to the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za]], they will tell you that all of your crew will be spared, but your main character will be executed.
* [[SealedEvilInACan Axenos]] from ''VideoGame/{{Wizard101}}'' inverts this trope by combining it with MercyKill. Since the player (accidentally) releases him, he thanks them and promises to kill the first [[FateWorseThanDeath so they would be spared from witnessing the horrors he'd bring about on the Spiral]].
* ''VideoGame/WeaponLord'' has an interesting integration of this on the SlidingScaleOfGameplayAndStoryIntegration, as sparing an opponent instead of killing them in Story mode will force you to fight them again before fighting Zarak. Sparing certain people can also net you a different Story Ending.
** Jen-Tai has been known to spare her opponents in order to let them learn from their mistakes and challenge her again.
* In ''MouseHunt'''s "[[ChristmasMode Great Winter Hunt 2012]]", the player assists an embittered mouse and receives a note of thanks, including the line "When we mice finally overthrow your world and become the rightful rulers, I will be sure to make sure the other mice treat you well."
* Right before the FinalBattle of ''VideoGame/EarthBoundBeginnings'', Giygas offers to spare Ninten, and ''only'' Ninten, and take him back to Giygas' world [[spoiler:out of lingering sentimentality for Ninten's great-grandmother Maria who was Giygas' ParentalSubstitute when he was a baby.]] Ninten of course refuses, and the battle commences.
* At the conclusion of ''VideoGame/SleepingDogs'''s main story, the new [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Sun On Yee]] Dragon Head [[spoiler:"Broken Nose" Jiang]] informs her advisor that [[spoiler:the protagonist Wei Shen]] is to be spared [[spoiler: [[TheMole despite having been an undercover cop who'd infiltrated his way to "Red Pole" -- and thus one of her peers]], since while he had abetted [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Sonny Wo]]'s arrest he also had defended her and his own gang when rival triads attacked, and in decimating Henry "Big Smile" Lee's gang and killing him Wei had cleared the way for her own ascension.]]
* ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations'': Implied as part of the deal between the Korath Clan and the Dread Lords; if the Korath Clan help the Dread Lords kill everybody, they will be allowed to continue to live. Whether the Dread Lords have any intention of letting the Korath live afterward, or they plan to betray them, is an open-ended question.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'': In the Shadow of Revan expansion, [[OmnicidalManiac Emperor]] [[EldritchAbomination Vitiate]] makes this promise to the Sith Warrior, letting you know in no uncertain terms that when his time comes you will be forced to watch the entire galaxy die for your betrayal.

* In ''Webcomic/{{PvP}}'', after horrifying him by StoryboardingTheApocalypse, Scratch reassures a quivering Skull that ''his'' death will be painless.
* ''Webcomic/VGCats'' plays with this [[http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=199 here]] with the [[PathOfInspiration The Church Of The]] OneWingedAngel [[Franchise/FinalFantasy Of Latter-Day Summons]].
-->''"So if I join, I'll be saved?"''
-->''"Oh no, you'll still die...but '''faster.'''"''
* ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'' uses this when Snow Song is thinking about how she'll destroy the town while sitting down to eat in a restaurant, but then the waitress gives her some chocolate cake on the house:
-->'''Snow Song''': ''None'' of these drones will be spared... Except for her.
* In ''WebComic/EightBitTheater'':
** Sarda shows mercy to the AffablyEvil Dark Warriors:
--->"Look, I don't do this... uh, ever. But you guys are basically like kittens stuck on a leaking lifeboat in a typhoon. Just run."
** Also, upon stumbling upon the Dark Warriors trying to steal the {{Cosmic Keystone}}s to defeat him and gain ultimate power, Sarda asks them if they even know how to use them. Bikke tosses his keystone at Sarda, becoming the first person in the series to land any sort of hit on him:
--->"You're a quick thinker ''and'' spiteful. I can respect that. You won't be killed, Bikke."
* [[Webcomic/CuantaVida "You're a crazy bastard, yes? You, I like. I'll kill you last."]] Though considering the speaker's ''[[FateWorseThanDeath modus operandi]]'', this is probably of no consolation to the guy who ''really'' doesn't like seeing his friends killed.
* Webcomic/BobAndGeorge [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/041121c For being entertaining opponents]]
* [[http://buttersafe.com/2009/02/12/children/ This]] Buttersafe.
* Webcomic/GirlGenius:
-->'''Gil''', to Tarvek: "I ''am'' Gilgamesh Wulfenbach - heir to the Empire and defender of the [[AlternateHistory Pax Transylvaniana]] - and I ''will'' crush this whole [[AncientConspiracy Knights of Jove]]/Storm King ''mess'' of yours. Ooh, don't worry - I'll let ''you'' escape. ''You'' can go ''skulking around'' with your little ''plans'' - after all, I'll ''always'' need someone to ''[[TheScapegoat take the blame]]''."
** Castle Heterodyne eventually uses the "I will kill you quickly" line on [[spoiler:Professor Tiktoffen, while crushing him to death.]]
** Gil also uses a variant of this ("After this is over, you will be promoted") this to the one person who doesn't believe he's who he says he is just because of his hat.
* A posthumous variant is employed in ''Webcomic/SamAndFuzzy'', in which [[spoiler:Mr. Blank]] states that he made [[spoiler:Mr. Black]]'s death as quick and painless as possible because the person in question "had earned it"... [[ToThePain But the person he's talking to is]] ''[[ToThePain not]]'' [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown going to be in for the same treatment]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3047 a succubus to Criminy]].
-->''I think I'll let you live.''
* ''{{Webcomic/Homestuck}}'': [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Eridan]] wants to kill all the land [[VerbalTic dwwellers]] [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004243 he admits he won't kill Kanaya]]. [[spoiler: Of course when he snaps the only land dweller he kills is Kanaya by blowing a hole through her stomach with a "science wand" she made him.]]
-->'''CA''': im not goin to vvery wwell kill you am i that wwould be fuckin unconscionable
-->'''CA''': wwhat kind of friend wwould i be
** The Disciple was also spared during The Sufferer's execution- she ''was'' supposed to die, but the Executioner couldn't bring himself to kill her.
** The "less painful death" variant is how Caliborn ''says'' he feels about Dirk. He's not lying, but at the same time, he wants to be bros with him too.
* Amical, the friendly villain of ''{{Webcomic/morphe}}'' is very fond of picking favorites and giving them favor in life or death situations. In the first chapter he recognizes a celebrity in a fight to the death and breaks the rules to help him win by shooting the other contestant in the back. Later the plot focuses on his use of this trope to select which of his pupils will have to die before his next big party.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Rule 68 of the EvilOverlordList: "I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. [[PragmaticVillainy This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so]]. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again."
* Marik Ishtar from ''[[WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries Yu-Gi-Oh The Abridged Series]]'' has to following evil monologue:
-->With his help I shall defeat you and then conquer the world! [[EvilLaugh Ah-hahaha!]] [[DistractedByTheShiny Oh hey look a bird!]] [[PetTheDog Isn't it just the cutest little guy]]-- I mean no! In my new world all birds will be enslaved! ''Especially this one!'' And he shall be named Mr. Tweetums, because it is ''very evil!'' Ah-hahaha! Now be gone Mr. Tweetums. I am trying to stalk my nemesis.
** He also likes Joey, who will be killed last. Evil Bakura quotes the ''Film/{{Commando}}'' exchange with Pegasus.
* ''WebVideo/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses'':
-->'''The Narrator''': Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?\\
'''Ask That Guy''': You are very funny. That is why I am going to kill you last.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This line from Dr. Robotnik in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog''...
-->''"Perhaps due to your change of heart, I'll exterminate you '''somewhat''' painlessly..."''
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''
** Stewie has said this to Peter (Your death shall be quick and painless) when he turned off the mind-numbing ''Series/{{Teletubbies}}'' show, and again to Flappy (Good news! I've decided not to kill you!) to let him know that his pancakes were satisfactory.
** In "Petarded", Peter says "When we retarded guys take over you will beg for mercy, and we will consider it".
* ''WesternAnimation/FilmationsGhostbusters'': Two kids unwittingly released a ghost bent on revenge against the family of one of them. He spared the kid as thanks.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}:'' Bender has said he might spare Fry when he kills all humans.
** At Fry's funeral (don't worry, [[AllJustADream he gets better]]):
-->'''Bender:''' ''"Whenever I said [[CrushKillDestroy 'Kill all humans']], I'd whisper to myself '...except for one'. [[RobotBuddy He was the one!]]"'' [=* bursts into tears* =]
** As of "Lethal Inspection", Hermes has been added to the list of humans to not kill.
** Robot Santa proclaimed his intention to kill the entire Planet Express team ... except Zoidberg, who hadn't been naughty and got a pogo stick instead.
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]'' finale episodes "Alive" and "Destroyer" offer Darkseid's take:
** After being [[spoiler:brought back to life]] by Luthor:
--->It seems I have you to thank [[spoiler: for my resurrection.]] Though your world will suffer slowly, I grant ''you'' a quick death."
** During the final showdown with Superman:
--->You impress me, Kryptonian. More, your valor has touched my heart. Oh yes, there is still some small part of me that knows mercy. I will end your pain... with something special I've been saving for just this occasion. ''(Darkseid draws a Kryptonite knife)'' I'm going to carve out your heart and put it on a pike in my throne room.
* In the fourth episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Amon ambushes Korra and has a golden opportunity to [[spoiler:take her bending away]], but doesn't take it because [[spoiler:that would make her a martyr]]. Instead he gives a BreakingSpeech explaining that he'll save her for last.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'': In [[Recap/StarWarsRebelsS3E19ZeroHour "Zero]] [[Recap/StarWarsRebelsS3E20ZeroHourPartII Hour"]], the ReverseMole, [[spoiler:Kallus]], is unmasked, and subsequently held hostage by [[MagnificentBastard Grand Admiral Thrawn]]. Thrawn says he won't stop until the last rebel falls, so it's an implied "I'm saving you for last" -- [[spoiler:Kallus]] will definitely be the last. [[spoiler:However, this winds up giving Kallus all the time he needs to plan his escape, and when he gets the chance to escape he takes it, so he survives anyway.]]

* This is supposedly one of the reasons to worship [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Cthulhu]]. Upon his rising, cultists will be devoured first, sparing them what happens next.
* Seen on Website/FourChan: "youfunnyguyikillyoulast.jpg"
* On ''[[WebOriginal/{{Lolcats}} I Can Has Cheezburger?]]'': [[http://icanhascheezburger.com/2008/08/12/funny-pictures-i-eets-yoo-last/ A promise made by a cute little tiger cub.]]
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', BigBad OmnicidalManiac Omega discussing his plans to conquer the universe with MissionControl Vic.
-->''"Then, the universe will be mine, and I'll CRUSH EVERY LIVING SOUL INTO DUST!!.... Um... except for you, Vic. You can be assistant crusher."''
* In ''Website/TheOnion''`s "Our Dumb Century", this is the Nazis' response when (as the headline says) ''Non-white Japan allies with White Supremacist Nazi Germany in Well-Thought Out Scheme''.
* Dane Cook has a stand-up act about [[BecauseYouWereNiceToMe befriending]] the [[LonersAreFreaks creepy loner]] in your office so that this happens when he inevitably snaps and goes on a rampage with a shotgun.
* On ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'', because he defeated someone who was a nuisance to it the Entity ''does'' save Linkara for last and lets him run and hide after [[spoiler: it absorbs everyone else]] - but it's waiting when he comes back out.
* In ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'', the hacker that is trying to get people to stop playing MMORPG says he'll leave the main guild alone due to them indirectly helping him with all the disasters they cause or a negociated immunity from his business partner among them depending on the media. Another implied reason is that they frequently GoKartingWithBowser.
* Near the end of browser game ''WebComic/DemonThesis'', [[spoiler:EldritchAbomination Mesmerus begins crossing over from his dimension to our world thanks in large part to the main characters being his {{Unwitting Pawn}}s]] and states that the main characters will be killed quickly and at the same time, as that seems the most humane thing to do and he owes them that much for inadvertently helping him as they have.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The author of ''A Hundred Little Hitlers'' (about Neo-Nazis), who is Jewish, apparently impressed one Neo-Nazi so much that he told her when he annihilated all the Jews, he'd spare her.
** We can one-up that one with the story of [[http://www.cracked.com/article_20441_6-people-saved-by-literally-last-person-they-expected_p2.html Ernest Hess]], a Jewish former soldier in Nazi Germany, who was spared from all persecution, harassment and even death by his former military subordinate... UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler. Yes. You read that right.
** Add to that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduard_Bloch the physician]] who looked after Hitler's mother, who also happened to be Jewish. Hitler granted him special protection out of gratitude for his work.
** Nazi Germany was, in some sense, full of this trope. Many high ranking Nazi party officials, military officers, and government bureaucrats had friends and relatives who were Jewish or, more often, had recent Jewish ancestry, and in fact, quite a few had recent Jewish ancestry themselves. An entire legal process was created (described in detail in the book ''Hitler's Jewish Soldiers'' by Bryan Mark Riggs) whereby such people might apply for legal exceptions that spared them persecution--at least for the time being. Some high ranking Nazi leaders on trial at Nuremberg even used the help they had given their friends in securing these exemptions in an attempt to demonstrate that they were not hardcore Nazis. For example, Goering talked about how he helped his friend General Erhard Milch, whose father was Jewish, stay in "his" Luftwaffe (incidentally, Milch was himself on trial for war crimes at Nuremberg). Doenitz used the help he had given Captain Bernhard Rogge (who would become famous for his humane and honorable conduct as the captain of the German raider ''Atlantis'') who had a Jewish grandfather, as his defense. According to Riggs, several hundred thousand such exemptions were granted throughout the Nazi era.
*** Riggs notes that the degree of protection granted by these exemptions varied. At the end of the war, Milch was a field marshal and Rogge was an admiral. But many who had received the legal exemptions were still dismissed from their positions of prestige and a large number, despite some being highly decorated combat veterans, were conscripted into undignified labor units (Organization Todt) doing menial work.
* This trope most likely lay at the heart of the cynical German-Japanese military alliance during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII from at least the Nazis' perspective (but possibly the Japanese as well). A paranoid, virulently racist, white supremacist country decides to team up against other enemies with a nation they probably deem subhuman when it gets down to it. [[http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/000120.html This article]] from ''Our Dumb Century'' puts it best.
** Ironically enough, Imperial Japan had notions of racial purity and superior bloodlines which, if not as consuming as that of the Nazis, was a significant part of their cultural ideology. Basically, both countries were willing to make a deal with what they considered an inferior race for the sake of gaining power over their enemies.
** Hitler also made offers of this kind to the UK during the early phase of the war, generally along the lines of "[[WeCanRuleTogether Britannia can rule the waves and Germania the earth]]." This seemed natural to Hitler, who was mystified as to why the UK wouldn't want to purge itself of the impure and unite with him against the "Jewish Bolsheviks". The UK ignored them (they didn't even acknowledge they had received them), which is essentially a diplomatic way of saying, "f*** off."
* There was a persistent {{Urban Legend|s}} floating around in the British media in the wake of the July 2007 suicide bombings in London about a woman stopping to assist a gentleman of Middle Eastern extraction with some problem or other -a lost contact lens, directions, whatever- and being told "don't take [[UsefulNotes/TheLondonUnderground the tube]] on $DATE". If this exchange ever took place in any form outside someone's especially vivid imagination, it was a subversion; none of the quoted dates ever seem to match up to a known terrorist plot, successful or otherwise, and the person dispensing this advice was almost certainly taking the piss.
** A [[http://www.snopes.com/rumors/cocacola.asp similar]] urban legend in the [=US=] involves someone doing something nice for a Muslim or Middle Eastern person, and being warned not to drink [insert brand of soda here] after a certain date. The story always has a strong implication of "because it'll be poisoned", but so far, there have been no mass poisonings via Coke or Pepsi.
* One of the reasons Guy Fawkes' plot to blow up the parliament failed was that many of the plotters had friends in parliament and wanted to warn them not to go.
* As recounted by David Cullen, immediately before the [[{{UsefulNotes/Columbine}} Columbine High School massacre]] began this happened:
-->Brooks Brown walked out for a cigarette and spotted Eric [Harris] parking in the wrong lot. Brooks charged up to confront him about the test [he had missed earlier that day]; by the time he got there, Eric had stepped out and was pulling out a big hulking duffel bag. "What's the matter with you?" Brooks yelled. "We had a test in psychology!" Eric was calm but insistent. "It doesn't matter anymore," he said. "Brooks, I like you now. Get out of here. Go home."